METUCHEN, N.J. – With three of the four spots confirmed in the 2018 UWS National Championship field, the last spot will be on the line at the East Conference championship game Tuesday.
The Inferno Rush (7-3-0, 21 points) won the East Conference regular season title in Week IX and earned hosting rights for the match. The team will welcome in the Connecticut Fusion (6-3-1, 19), which secured its spot with road victories over New England and Worcester this past weekend.
The match will take place at Millersville University’s Pucillo Field at 7 p.m. ET. Tickets are available at the gate and are $5 (ages 5 and up). For those who cannot attend the match can watch the stream live on Mycujoo, which can be found here.
The winner will round out the field 2018 UWS National Championship, which will take place July 21-22 at the East Lansing Soccer Complex in East Lansing, Mich. The other three teams participating in the tournament are the Houston Aces (Southwest Conference champions), Calgary Foothills Women’s FC (West Conference champions) and Grand Rapids FC Women (Midwest Conference Playoff champions).
Grand Rapids FC Women secured its spot in the field after winning their second consecutive Midwest Conference playoff title this past weekend. In its semifinal match against the Detroit Thursday night, GRFC quickly responded after Tori Singstock’s 10th-minute goal by getting an 11th-minute equalizer from Lizzie Paul. Paul gave her team a 2-1 lead with 15 minutes left in the second half but five minutes from full time, Detroit’s Rachel DeLuca netted a dramatic equalizer to force extratime. The 2-2 scoreline held through the two, 15-minute extra time periods and the contest was settled via penalty kicks. GRFC goalkeeper Maia Perez came up big with a pair of saves and the reigning UWS Champions advanced to the playoff final over Detroit, 4-3, on penalties.
GRFC met top-seeded Lansing United in Saturday’s final, cruising past the Michigan Legends 3-0 in its semifinal encounter on the strength of goals from Lexie Pelafas, Riko Sagara and Madison Costner. The final produced a tight first half but it was Grand Rapids who took a lead into halftime on Samantha Maher’s 43rd-minute tally. Lansing came out firing out of the locker room and equalized less than two minutes into the second half from substitute Brittany Tanner. But GRFC ran off three unanswered goals, one from Maher in the 49th minute and two from Marti Corby in the final 15 minutes, to put the match away. Lansing trimmed their deficit to 4-2 with a stoppage-time goal from Pelafas but it wasn’t enough to stop GRFC from lifting the Midwest Conference playoffs crown for the second consecutive year.
On Wednesday, the league will announce the matchups for UWS National semifinals, which will take place Saturday, July 21. The first semifinal will kick off at 4:30 p.m. ET and the second semifinal will start at 7:30 p.m. ET. The winners of the two semifinals will meet Sunday, July 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET for the national title.
Tickets for the 2018 UWS National Championships are available, with single day tickets available for $10 and a two-day pass costs $15.